Iowa Nature Series Provides Fresh Look at Iowa's Outdoors

New series is a one-stop shop for educational materials about nature

April 1, 2021, 10:32 am | Adam Janke

AMES, Iowa – The diversity and breadth of Iowa’s natural environment is captured in a new series of publications by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Association of Naturalists.

“Iowa’s Nature Series” is a collection of 10 publications covering topics such as landforms and geology, forests, prairies, aquatics, vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, and influential voices for Iowa’s nature.

The publications are educational and feature color photography, original artwork, and creative designs. Iowa Nature Series graphic.

The series is an update to similar publications that were produced about 20 years ago, with a focus on making them digitally accessible and accurate to date.

“We set out to honor the spirt of this historical series and make each publication digitally accessible, modernly accurate, and aesthetically pleasing,” said Adam Janke, assistant professor in natural resources ecology and management and extension wildlife specialist at Iowa State University.

About 35 authors and a half-dozen designers contributed to this effort. The result is a “one-stop shop” for educational material about Iowa’s nature, with each publication available for free download from the ISU Extension Store. Each original map and graphic developed for the project is also available for free download and use in educational applications.

Lily Jensen, one of several members of the Iowa Association of Naturalists who helped author the publications, said she plans to integrate them into her own educational efforts and hopes others will do the same.

“I think this series will serve as a valuable resource to the general public and also provide useful resources for new naturalists and classroom teachers and students,” she said.

The series covers more than just plants, animals and rocks. For those interested in the history of nature in Iowa, the “Influential Voices” article provides biographies of 20 people who helped improve nature and conservation in Iowa.

The “State Symbols” section gives a historical background for symbols such as Iowa’s state flower, state rock, state bird and state tree.

The series was produced with funding from a Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program grant administered through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

For more information, Janke can be reached at 515-294-7429 or


Original photo: Iowa Nature Series graphic.

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